ECOWAS Trade Information System (ECOTIS) – A Vision and a Tool for integration and inclusive economic development

Conscious of the trade and related information provisions made in the revised treaty, the existing global trends in trade promotion and the potential value added to Trade promotion for the ECOWAS region, the ECOWAS Trade Directorate has set up this ECOWAS Trade Information System(ECOTIS).

Among other things, ECOTIS is to provide timely and reliable access to trade information within and with the region, serve as a reference tool for economic players, diversify the region’s market and satisfy the region’s single-window trade information needs

Regional Trade is one of the effective tools for achieving regional integration and accelerated, sustained, inclusive economic growth and development.

In deed the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member states put it succinctly in the Preamble of the revised treaty of The Community that their ultimate goal is a sustained and accelerated economic development leading to an ‘economic union of West Africa’.

Trade promotion, transparency, facilitation, fluidity and competitiveness hinge on the availability of timely, reliable and relevant trade and related information. Mindful of the relevance of such Information to the cause of the regions’ economic development and integration, Article 50(2c) of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty states: ‘At regional level, the Community shall undertake trade promotion activities’ which may include: establishment of an intra-Community trade information network; ‘.

Up-to-date trade information on ECOTIS shall enhance traders’ appreciation of the commercial landscape of both existing and potential markets. The trade data, to be provided on this platform, shall facilitate the continued competitiveness of products and services as well as encourage enterprises to capitalize upon emerging opportunities in that the trade and related data shall be enough insight and overview for effective and informed analyses. It is envisaged that information shared on ECOTIS shall be used to stay ahead of new and emerging trends and demands, thereby allowing enterprises within the region to design, develop, and modify products based on the requirements of target markets. Additionally, ECOWAS Trade Directorate desires that by providing reliable (frequent and accurate) information on international standards and regulations on this platform, economic players shall operate in accordance with compliance principles of target markets. Information is undoubtedly one of the main prerequisites for market penetration. A well-functioning trade information sector would therefore contribute to diversification , efficiency and economic growth by facilitating the expansion of both geographic, products and services markets.

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